Renewable Energy World: Solar Industry Must Support ITC Extension or Face Potentially Dire Consequences

The keynote session at PV America 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts highlighted the great strides solar has made in the past year, but also warned that the progress could all go up flames if the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is not extended beyond December 31, 2016.

Solar has really had a banner year: It accounted for nearly 32 percent of all electric capacity installed through the fourth quarter of 2014, installed costs have dropped, and more than 175,000 people work in the industry, which has more than 8,000 companies. It has certainly come a long way since the ITC was first introduced in 2005, explained Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Executive Director Rhone Resch.

“Since 2006, 150,000 jobs have been created, 19.5 gigawatts have been installed, and yearly installations have increased by a factor of 60,” said Resch. “Most of us in this room have jobs because of the solar ITC.”

Resch laid out an eye-opening scenario if the solar ITC expires: “The reality is that we will lose 100,000 jobs if we lose the ITC -- and these are conservative numbers. Ninety percent of solar companies will go out of business.”

Charlotte Observer: TVA to Rely More on Natural Gas, Renewable Energy

The country's largest public utility will rely more on natural gas and renewable energy in the future.

On Monday, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released its integrated resource plan for the next 20 years. The plan is a roadmap of how the utility intends to respond in good or bad economic times or during periods of more environmental regulation.

No matter the scenario, TVA officials see the agency relying far more on natural gas and renewable energy, especially solar power. And for the first time, TVA officials say energy efficiency is viewed on a level playing field as other forms of power.

The Hill: What If States Just Say ‘No’ to Climate Rule?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is counseling states to defy a key pillar of President Obama’s climate change initiative.

But while it may be politically attractive for some states to heed the call to just say “no” to the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark limits on power plant emissions, experts say doing so could bring unwanted consequences.

McConnell, a Republican from coal-rich Kentucky, reasoned in a column in the Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader that states’ refusal to comply with the contentious rule could be a powerful display of protest against an administration he accuses of overreach. At the same time, he argues, states could avoid expensive impacts of a regulation that he thinks is doomed by either Congress or the federal courts.

Experts and supporters of the regulation contend, refusing to write a state plan would invite the EPA to impose its own system for reducing emissions, denying state officials the ability to craft rules in a way that best fits the state’s unique circumstances.

The Wall Street Journal: Japan Space Agency Advances in Space-Based Solar Power

It’s one small 55-meter step for Japan’s aerospace industry, but perhaps a giant leap into developing a new energy source for mankind.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or Jaxa, said it succeeded in transmitting electric power wirelessly to a pinpoint target using microwaves, which is an essential technology needed for the realization of space-based solar power.

According to a spokesperson at the agency, the researchers were able to transform 1.8 kilowatts of electric power into microwaves and transmit it with accuracy into a receiver located 55 meters away. The microwave was successfully converted into direct electrical current at the receiving end. The experiment was conducted Sunday in Hyogo prefecture in western Japan.

The Detroit News: Gov. Snyder to Wade Into Brewing Energy Fight

A battle is brewing as Gov. Rick Snyder prepares this month to lay out a new energy plan for the state and appoint Michigan's first czar to oversee it.

Snyder's plan takes on importance because the two biggest power companies met a 2015 deadline to obtain 10 percent of their power from renewable sources -- a growing sector spurred by wind farms.

Democrats and environmentalists now want to mandate 20 percent by 2022, as businesses push to end the state's utility monopoly.

CleanTechnica: Tesla Giga Factory Pictures With Tesla Board

The Tesla Motors board recently took a tour of the Tesla Giga factory. Steve Jurvetson and Kimbal Musk have both shared some photos from the tour. Aside from Steve and Kimbal, there are some good shots of Elon Musk, JB Straubel, and (of course) the developing Giga factory.